This Feels Like A Sexual Catch 22

Question: Dear Luise: Thank you having such an amazing website. My problem is as follows:
I have been together with someone for a little over a year now, and things have been complicated from the start. I moved in to her place from overseas, and the second I got here, she began playing this game of cat and mouse. She had abusive parents, and I feel like deep down she wanted to be with me, but she constantly ran away from, than came back, and ran away again than came back. In turn I constantly feel like the victim. Slowly over the course of the year, she stopped doing this, and now we live in separate places, and it seems like she has one of the episodes more and more infrequently enough that our relationship seems stable. My question is about sex though. I am really confused about it and I want to know how I can take control of this. She constantly gives me conflicted messages about sex. She tells me that when we simply lie together, we feel perfect, yet when there is any sexual activity, she becomes massively fearful, and must pull away. She also claims she has never had this in a relationship before. She says that conceptually she finds me attractive, but says that I am not confident enough in sex for her to stay in a sexual moment. I feel like there is some truth to what she is saying, yet I don’t know what to do. She is my first relationship, and I want sex so badly, and we have only a tiny bit of sex, and I feel like this is a catch 22. I am fearful because she rejects me sexually, and yet I cant get out of my fear, because  she always says how complicated our sex life is. How can I get my manhood back in this situation? M.

Answer: Dear M.: Thanks for your positive feedback about my website. It is much appreciated.

It sounds to me like you have hooked up with a gal who has a lot of issues and I commend you for the way you are supporting her in working through them. The tricky thing is to see what is about her and what is about you.

Blaming another person is never productive and it is seldom true. All of the stuff that is going on with her is about her. Until she takes responsibility for her fears and how they control her, you are probably going to have difficulties. For her to say that it is *you*, is a cop-out that is very common in couples. I personally think it’s cruel. She doesn’t stay in the moment because of what’s going on with “her* and she needs to know that. Both partners contribute…one doesn’t carry the other.

No one is totally sexually confident. Just because this is your first serious relationship doesn’t mean you are “less than” the guys who have been all over the place. Those who claim to be the world’s greatest are probably the most fearful of all.

Talk with her. Explain that “I” statements are needed to move forward. “I feel scared. I like cuddling better than sex. I fear being responsible for my own sexuality.” etc. Make it clear that “you” statements are not acceptable “You need to be more confident. You scare me. You are too ___. You don’t ___.” etc.

Communication is the way out of this and denial of responsibility blocks it. The truth is you are how you are and she picked you. She is how she is and you picked her. Talk about how both of you can adapt and adjust and agree. No one is right and no one is wrong. Because of that, no one can  take control of it. It needs to be negotiated.

You may need to go to counseling to protect your relationship and get it back on track. Your gal sounds fragile and may need to work through some of her behavior patterns to be able to participate in a well-balanced, adult relationship. Blessings, Luise

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